Just a heads up to people that may take photos of public figures and politicians.
At the beginning of April, I photographed a candidate forum in my hometown that featured two candidates that are running to be their party's nominees to challenge our current US Representative and a candidate for Governor of SD. After the event, I posted a few of the photos to the website of the group that hosted the forum.
I received a Google Alert informing me that my name was mentioned in a political blog that is authored by a local extreme xxxx-winger (doesn't really matter what his politics are, I don't want my business to be associated with either extreme). I go to check it out and I find that he has taken a screenshot of the website that I posted my photos to (with my photo as nearly the only thing in the frame, other than the border of the website) and included a very deceiving caption to go along with a post that I would best describe as an attempt at character assassination of some of the subjects of my photo. The caption inferred that a local businessman was talking to two of the politicians, when it was clear from the photo that he was just sitting next to a woman that was speaking with on of the politicians and the other politician was sitting in a chair about 15 feet behind them. The businessman was obviously not even paying attention to the conversation.
At the end of the caption he put a credit line with my name. My photo had the copyright symbol followed by my name and website URL across the bottom ( hard to see in his screenshot, but easily seen in the gallery - which he also linked to).
Even though he obviously knew that I was the photographer and copyright holder of the photo, he decided he could use it in his post without even bothering to contact me. He figured that it was OK as long as he gave me credit.
I immediately sent him a take-down notice, which he did by the next morning (it was late when I sent it). He then sent me an email asking me to inform him of how I'd like to be credited so he could use my photos on his blog.
He also put a caption in place of the photo that you can see at the following link:
He also directed his visitors to my personal Facebook account (where I had also posted the photo).
He also had made a new post with some goofy conspiracy theory, as he apparently either can't believe that a photographer wouldn't want him using their photograph to spew his venom or he just doesn't care about the truth.
I took the photo off of Facebook and sent him an email describing the finer points of the proper procedure of licensing photos, where to find "fair use" in the US Code and that I didn't want my name associated with nasty political attacks. I also explained to him how putting a credit line underneath a photo does not make it OK to use someone's photo without permission.
Long story short, be careful what you put out there when your subjects are political in nature. There are some very loud people that think they can use whatever they can find to advance their viewpoint. Your name and work may be associated with these attacks and it could very well affect your business. People may see your name in the photo or credit line and assume that you are working with the person that stole your photo or support their causes.
His blog is supposedly one of the most highly visited political blogs in my state, and the blogger won't set the record straight as to what happened. Protect your copyrights vigorously and be on the lookout for your photos to appear in places you don't want them.
I highly recommend signing up for Google Alerts: